How to Get a Free Yacht




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

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Step 1: Get the Free Yacht

This is the easy part.
"Wooden Boat" magazine has a "free boats" section in every issue.
Any harbormaster can show you some free boats.
They're especially plentiful in the northeast in the fall.
Divorce season, whenever that is, produces lots of project boats that
"must be removed from my yard before such-and-such a date".

My friend Patrick and I got the beauty seen here from an ad in the free section of
Here's how our baby looked in "Latitude 38" magazine in December of 2004.

Step 2: Rent a Marina Slip

That's where you'll put your new boat.
Our slip costs $200 a month because it's a 30 foot slip.
Our bowsprit is a lot of that length. We could saw it off to save rent, but it's a great thing to ride on.
Some marinas don't allow wooden boats because they don't like beauty or suffering.
Or boats older than ten years, or worth less than 40 grand or somesuch because they worship Moloch.
We found the Emeryville Marina, which is a righteous place.
Here's the application we filled out to get in.
It requires insurance, which in turn asks what marina the boat is in, which is a catch-22.

Step 3: Get Insurance

In order to rent your marina slip you have to get insurance.
Get whatever the marina requires/recommends.
The following companies wouldn't sell us us a policy because the boat is too old.
Geico, West Marine, BoatUS which is the same thing, United Marine Underwriters.
Progressive insurance did it online with no hassles. Yay! It costs about $300 a year.
I'm told is also good for insuring weird old boats, cars, etc.

Step 4: Get It Ready to Move

We swam around the boat with spatulas and brushes, scraping off the seafood that was thriving on the bottom.
When we were done the boat sat an inch or so higher in the water.
The diesel engine runs great, but the RUBBER exhaust hose leaked and had to be replaced.
There's a pump that sprays water into the exhaust pipe cooling the hot gas just as it hits the rubber hose going out the back of the boat.
That's apparently the usual way of doing it. We went to West Marine and bought a new one.
The sticker said "$7.71" and I thought that was very reasonable. We also got some flares which the coastguard, the DMV or somesuch requires.
The price on the hose was PER FOOT. $85.00 got us a rubber hose and four highway flares.
Definition of boat: "A hole in the water into which you pour money".
Here's Patrick harvesting seaweed and crustaceans off our hull.

Step 5: To Be Continued...

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207 Discussions


3 years ago


My name is Jules and I saw this and said, why worry about auctions on ebay that I never win and ask people for a boat like this? I would love a boat. I do not mind being a river rat either. Did that in the Florida Keys and loved it.


3 years ago

If. Any one has a good vesle I can get. Please call 229-410-9253

1 reply

3 years ago

I have 3rd stage colon cancer I have worked hard all of my life several jobs at the time I was a single parent my job of 36 years terminated my employment after finding out I had cancer two days after I asked off for the surgery to remove my colon if there is any soul out there that has a boat a large boat as possible when I can live on I would like to live on a boat before I leave this world that has always been my dream I'm not new to boats I know what it takes I know what the cheapest I know what the fees are please contact me at please contact me please any shape size condition all I'm willing to work on and I'm willing to fix it I would prefer one that's ready to go as I am medically has a disadvantage but please it doesn't matter contact me and let me know if you know of anything or if you have one you're just tired of yours you want to tax write-off whatever please call me text me email me email me for the phone number to call or text I'm a real person thank you so much God bless

fat basterd

3 years ago

Looking for a free house boat in Ar, to restore. Or any small boat that nobody wants for a good home.


3 years ago

Remember what b-o-a-t stands for... Break Out Another Thousand!

Dunk seymour

3 years ago

will this work in the U.K. THAT is my question ?


Need a houseboat or sailboat near charleston. The larger the better. I need to be closer to my son.


4 years ago

Looking for a 60' plus .., already have engines.. West coast..

1 reply

Another cool helping each other boat finding or sharing could be if you got a boat and need help with it yet you own a farm or other land that we would be working on it, is that you share let others fix their boats there and help you in exchange for letting them work on theirs on your property. You can get a release signed from anyone who wants to be part of the barter, so you don't have to worry about someone falling etc. We could start a fleet or remember the convoy song ?


What if we started bartering more. My idea of a decent barter in these situations is to have our own posts about example 1 first mate wanted - I have a boat needs TLC, and you could be my first mate send contact info if you can get to east end of long island or are out here. We can share for a while. 2- You have a boat need a 1ST MATE willing to share my boat with either sex as long as we are basic lyrics Yada Yada see what I mean.


4 years ago on Introduction

For those hoping to find one, keep any eye out here.

They search them out an post free boats daily.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I have a Catalina 22 that I live on. Small, but comfortable. I have A/C, heat. power. stove........etc, etc...and Wifi. Paid $500 for it. Was given another by the marina which I salvaged the sails, motor and hardware from. Remodeling it now to sell for a larger sailboat and do it all again. A 35-40 foot is my goal.

Just got one of these, and beginning to outfit it for live aboard. What love to talk to you about your experience and your know how.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Until you legally transfer the title (like you do when you buy or sell a car) you don't own the boat, no matter what the harbor master says. He just wants to get an abandoned boat off his property.